Spanish Verb Conjugation -- Action Words
Learning to conjugate Spanish verbs isn't something you have to think about with fear or dread. On the contrary, to know the way to use verbs is a skill you can be excited about. I can still remember how knowing how to conjugate verbs blew my Spanish speaking wide open. Once I knew verbs, I began to be able to express any thought that came to me. It really was exciting and powerful.
What is Verb Conjugation?
Conjugation is just a fancy way of describing what we do when we make a verb sound correct with the subject (the person doing the action)
So in this lesson we'll begin conjugating verbs. We'll begin with the 3 main Spanish verb types. Verbs ending in -ar, -er, and -ir. What's really great is that with these 3 regular verb forms you'll be able to intelligently use about 80 or 90 percent of the verbs you need to converse fluently in Spanish. We'll handle the irregular verbs in another lesson.
Spanish Verbs Ending in -ar
Verbs ending in -ar are the most common types of Spanish verbs. To conjugate ar verbs drop the ar and add the correct ending from the table below. The endings you see in bold can be used to conjugate any regular Spanish verb that ends in -ar.
|yo hablo||I talk|
|tu hablas||you talk|
|el habla||he talks|
|nosotros hablamos||we talk|
|vosotros habláis||you (pl) talk|
|ellos hablan||they talk|
|Ustedes hablan||you(formal) talk|
Other common verbs that end in ar:
- caminar -- to walk
- preguntar -- to ask
- gastar -- to spend
- mandar -- to send
- comprar -- to buy
Spanish Verbs Ending in -er
When you conjugate er verbs just drop the er and add the correct ending from the table below. The endings you see in bold can be used to conjugate any regular Spanish verb that ends in -er.
|yo aprendo||I learn|
|tu aprendes||you learn|
|el aprende||he learns|
|nosotros aprendemos||we learn|
|vosotros aprendéis||you (pl) learn|
|ellos aprenden||they learn|
|Ustedes aprenden||you(formal) learn|
Other common verbs that end in er:
- barrer -- to sweep
- aparecer -- to appear
- entender -- to understand
- extender -- to extend
- partenecer -- to belong
Spanish Verbs Ending in -ir
To conjugate ir verbs drop the ir from the infinitive form and add the correct ending from the table below. The endings you see in bold can be used to conjugate any regular Spanish verb that ends in -ir.
|yo escribo||I learn|
|tu escribes||you learn|
|el escribe||he learns|
|nosotros escribimos||we learn|
|vosotros escribís||you (pl) learn|
|ellos escriben||they learn|
|Ustedes escriben||you(formal) learn|
Other common verbs that end in ir:
- recibir -- to receive
- reducir -- to reduce
- pedir -- to ask
- partir -- to split
- cubrir -- to cover
Spanish Verbs in the Dictionary
This was mentioned in another lesson but its important enough to be worth repeating here too. When you look at Spanish verbs in your Spanish-English dictionary you'll see several abbreviations that can be very helpful.
For example, when you look up caminar in the dictionary, it has the abbreviation intr. next to it. This means caminar is an intransitive verb, a verb that doesn't act upon a direct object. And when you look up the verb "pegar", it has the abbreviation tr. which stands for transitive. This means it is a verb that acts upon a direct object.
Finally, when you look up the word ser (to be) the dictionary you'll see it has a special symbol and the number 66 next to it. This number is telling you that ser is an Irregular Verb. Just take the number 66 and look up this number in the front of the dictionary in a table called the "Spanish Verb Table". This table gives you all the information you need to use the irregular verb ser, or any other irregular Spanish verbs.